Todd Akin becomes a big star: Todd Akin made a very dumb comment last week. In some quarters, it has produced some very dumb commentary, a topic we expect to explore next week.
(Your lizard brain is already angry about all the moral equivalence!)
In one way, Akin seemed to be saying something very dumb which he actually believed. In another way, he seems to have made the latest unfortunate offhand remark.
To the extent that Akin made an injudicious remark, it has surely turned out to be the mother of all such offhand comments! This morning, Rep. Akin dominates the front page of the New York Times.
He’s the focus of two front-page news reports. They share the page’s upper right-hand corner.
Inside the paper, Akin rates a third report. (It’s teased out on the front page.) The formerly unknown back-bencher rules pages A16 and A17, a double-page spread.
Three huge news reports eat those pages. All three reports concern the new mouth of the near-south.
We’ll comment on John Eligon’s report, which appears on A16 but is teased on the Times front page.
“Mr. Akin is no stranger to incendiary comments,” Jonathan Weisman writes, on the Times front page. At this point, Weisman directs us to page A16—to Eligon’s report.
Is Akin “no stranger to incendiary comments?” Incredibly, this is all Eligon has on that partiuclar topic. This short and rather pathetic passage rated that front-page tease:
ELIGON (8/22/12): Outspoken and blunt—too blunt, some might say—Mr. Akin, 65, is no stranger to incendiary comments. He has criticized federal spending on things like school lunches and student loans and has been quick to equate government spending to socialism.Is Akin “no stranger to incendiary comments?” We don’t know, but that highlighted passage is all Eligon has—and you’ll note that he presents exactly zero quotations by Akin! According to Eligon, Akin has “criticized federal spending on things like school lunches and student loans,” in some unspecified way. He has also “been quick to equate government spending to socialism,” though again no quotations are given.
“ ‘God called me to run’—that’s the way he thinks,” said Jeff Smith, a former Democratic state senator in Missouri, said of Mr. Akin, a six-term congressman who represents parts of eastern Missouri. “I think he thinks it’s his destiny, and so you’re going to have to get somebody pretty high up there—or, in his mind, pretty close to God—to push him out.”
Is there a Republican in the land who hasn’t made that equation? This is all Eligon had—and yet it's excitedly cited today out on the Times’ front page!
(For the record, the Times lists five other journalists who "contributed" to Eligon's report. Including Rebecca Berg!)
With the rise of talk radio and the web, we’ve all gained the ability to see how crazy and dumb we Americans are—to see how many ludicrous things we’re prepared to believe.
It used to be hard to learn how crazy we are. Now it’s a click, or a talk show, away.
Or a glance at the New York Times?
Akin made a deeply ridiculous comment last week. But then, to a somewhat lesser extent, so does Journalist Weisman, on the Times front page.
Out on the Times front page, the excitable Weisman piles on today. Just a guess:
This reaction from our sillier journos will help make Akin a star. Are you sure this will lead to Akin's defeat?
We don't think that's clear.
Quick note: Your lizard brain may be angry by now. Have you noticed that your lizard tends to react that way?